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2 past and present councilmembers join race for Allegheny County executive

2 past and present councilmembers join race for Allegheny County executive
2 past and present councilmembers join race for Allegheny County executive 02:25

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A current Allegheny County councilwoman and a former county councilman have announced their candidacies for Allegheny County chief executive next year.

As KDKA political editor Jon Delano reports, it's likely to be a crowded field for what many think is the third most important elected position.

Democratic county councilwoman Liv Bennett and former county councilman Dave Fawcett have joined Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb in formally announcing for Allegheny County chief executive.

"We need to fight for jobs in this region. It's critical.  We need to fight for economic development, and we need to address our social equity issues like criminal justice reform," says Fawcett, an Oakmont Democrat.

Fawcett, who 15 years ago turned Democrat after being a Republican, served two terms on council.

"We passed the smoking ban. We reformed the row offices, consolidated them. I spearheaded the passage of a countywide riverfront park ordinance," says Fawcett.

An attorney, he's also part of the Innocence Project to release those wrongfully convicted of crimes.

"The criminal justice system, particularly in Allegheny County, is not necessarily fair at all and needs to be reformed," he says.

Councilwoman Bennett of Northview Heights is the first African American woman to run for this job.

"It's about time. Should not be a first in 2022," she says.

Bennett says since studies show people of color, especially women, disadvantaged in this region, "Why not have the person experiencing those inequities be part of the solution in bringing parity and equity back into this region?"

Bennett says she has the skills to bring diverse people together.

"I continue to be a community organizer, and I think that's a great skill to bring to the executive branch to foster collaboration, community input," Bennett says. 

Also considering a run for this office are Pennsylvania Rep. Sara Innamorato of Lawrenceville, Allegheny County human services project manager Erin McClelland of Harrison, mobile app developer Will Parker of the North Side and Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein of Kennedy.

After governor and mayor of Philadelphia, many say this job is third in importance.  So with Rich Fitzgerald term-limited, watch for lots of contenders for his job announce in the coming weeks. 

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